Thursday

27th Jun 2019

EU sex-posters spark protests in Austria

Three naked models masked as Jacques Chirac, Queen Elizabeth and George W. Bush depicted in sexual positions have caused embarrassment just a few days ahead of Austria taking over the EU helm.

A poster showing the lower body of a woman with her legs spread and wearing EU-flagged underwear has also caused uproar in the media and among politicians, demanding they be removed.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

The posters are part of a larger partly-publicly funded project '25 Peaces' celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Austrian republic and its ten years of membership of the EU.

Taxpayers are contributing 10 percent of the total 10 million euro project, while the rest of the money is from private sponsors.

A total of 150 posters were produced as part of the celebrations by 75 young European artists working under the umbrella title euroPART.

Their contribution may have passed rather unnoticed had it not been for the three posters which have sexual overtones.

All the posters are on display throughout the Austrian capital Vienna on 400 billboards until 24 January when they will be moved on to Salzburg.

Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schussel announced according to the Austrian daily Krone Zeitung that he had not been informed in advance of the content of the campaign.

He underlined the posters had nothing to do with art and that they had surpassed by far the borders of good taste.

Head of the Right-wing Freedom party Heinz Christian Strache was quoted saying by Austrian media that the posters depicted nothing more than "group sex fantasies", while Salzburg party-member Karl Schnell demanded the person responsible for the posters should be sacked.

As part of an independent cultural project it is unclear whether the posters can in fact be ordered removed.

Social Democrat top-official Norbert Darabos defended the principle of freedom of art, but criticised the project for cashing one million euro from the public coffers.

Social democrat deputy president of Austria's parliament, Barbara Prammer said in a statement: "Women are being displayed in sexist, demeaning manner on those posters". Chirac, Bush and the English Queen are degraded, she added.

Organisers of the project including the head of the national theatre Georg Springer defended the posters as "direct criticism of globalisation" adding that the underwear photo was being ironic about the EU.

Artist Carlos Aires, 31, from Madrid produced the naked trio. He said to the Telegraph they depicted "the most recent changes in Europe and the resulting special constructions".

The project also included ideas such as having cows graze the lawn outside the Belvedere Palace and planting a vegetable garden on Heroes' Square in Vienna, where Adolf Hitler announced Germany's annexation of Austria.

Controversial EU porn-posters to be removed

Contentious pornographic EU posters will be withdrawn from billboards in Vienna in a bid to end fierce controversy on the eve of Austria taking over the EU presidency from Britain.

EU parliament gives extra time for leaders on top jobs

The EU parliament might allow an extra 24 hours for EU heads of government to first come up with the new EU leadership names. Meanwhile, EPP lead candidate Manfred Weber is meeting Angela Merkel and AKK in Berlin for backing.

News in Brief

  1. EU warns Turkey as 'Gezi Park' trials begin
  2. EU universities to share students, curricula
  3. Migrant rescue ship loses Human Rights Court appeal
  4. Denmark completes social democrat sweep of Nordics
  5. Johnson offers 'do or die' pledge on Brexit
  6. Weber indirectly attacks Macron in newspaper op-ed
  7. EU to sign free trade deal with Vietnam
  8. EU funding of air traffic control 'largely unnecessary'

Merkel and Macron split over Weber presidency

EU heads of government have their first face-to-faces discussions after the European elections on who should lead the EU commission. They are unlikely to decide quickly - with the parliament also divided over the candidates.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  4. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  6. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  7. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  8. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  9. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate

Latest News

  1. EU moves to end car-testing 'confidentiality clause'
  2. EU parliament gives extra time for leaders on top jobs
  3. Europe's rights watchdog lifts Russia sanctions
  4. EU-Vietnam trade deal a bad day for workers' rights
  5. EU 'special envoy' going to US plan for Palestine
  6. Polish judicial reforms broke EU law, court says
  7. EU study: no evidence of 'East vs West' food discrimination
  8. Russia tried to stir up Irish troubles, US think tank says

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us